Datacentre built on Harrods’ roof


Datacentre built on Harrods’ roof

Cliff Saran

Harrods is migrating its SAP enterprise resource planning system from Osterly in west London to a datacentre on the roof of its flagship store in Knightsbridge.

The project will ensure that IT staff can support key store IT systems on site, helping the store, which operates seven days a week, to meet its target of zero downtime.

John Dilkes, network infrastructure and security manager at Harrods, said, "We want to run all our production systems here in Knightsbridge to support the 900 tills in the store." The SAP system supports back-office functions, including supply chain management, distribution and invoice matching.

Harrods was unable to use its existing server rooms in Knightsbridge, as they did not have adequate power and cooling.

Instead, it built a replacement datacentre on the roof of the 100-year-old building, based on a modular design from consultancy On365. Harrods reinforced the roof using custom-made steel supports capable of holding up to 100 tonnes.

The retailer used a crane to lift the five-piece unit to the roof, bolted it together and sealed and connected it to the nine-megawatt Harrods power grid. A 4Gbit fibre network, fitted in 1998, will provide a link to the new datacentre.

Harrods plans to install CA Unicenter and Ciscoworks monitoring software at the datacentre between 15 and 18 November. It will also start migrating its SAP databases from Osterley to Knightsbridge.

Along with the migrated ERP system, the datacentre will house Harrods' Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers, an electronic point of sale system and an EMC storage area network.

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